A Russian businessman considered to be a close ally of Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin has been hospitalized in Central African Republic (CAR) following what has been claimed to be a failed assassination attempt.
Dmitry Sytii, who is officially the director of the “Russian House” cultural center in the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), Bangui, was sanctioned by the United States in September 2020 for his alleged ties to Wagner Group, a private military organization that has deployed more than 1,000 fighters in the unstable nation to combat rebels.
The Russian embassy in Bangui broke news of Sytii’s hospitalization, claiming the attack to be an attempted assassination but offering no details of how any attack unfolded.
In a statement released on Friday, Prigozhin, a Russian businessman under US sanctions who has led Russia’s current push into Africa, alleged that Sytii got a package carrying an explosive that exploded in his hands.
“Currently, Dmitry Sytii’s life hangs in the balance. Russian physicians are doing everything possible to rescue him at the hospital in Bangui, according to a statement released by Prigozhin’s catering firm, Concord, in which Sytii is described as a “Patriot of Russia and the Central African Republic.”
Prigozhin asserted that the assassination plot was orchestrated by France. “I have already contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation so that it initiates the procedure for declaring France a state sponsor of terrorism, as well as conducting a thorough investigation of the terrorist methods of France and its western allies – the United States and others.”
The French foreign ministry denied any involvement in a statement.